Israel Alone Among The Nations

by Joseph Hunting

The Melbourne "HERALD" on June 28th announced President Carter's shock demand that Israel withdraw from the West Bank, the Golan Heights, Sinai and the Gaza Strip. Whilst President Carter's insistence that Israel yield all the territory she captured during the Six Day War has sent shock waves throughout the world and will be hailed by Israel's enemies, Bible students recognize a pattern emerging that was prophesied by a strange Gentile seer 3,500 years ago.

Just prior to Israel passing over Jordan to possess the land God had promised to them 430 years previously, Balak the king of Moab hired Balaam to curse Israel. This extremely interesting and strange account is recorded in the 22nd and 23rd chapters of Numbers and makes fascinating reading. After making the sacrifice of animals on seven altars Balaam uttered these significant words: "Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram (Syria), out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed? Or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? LO, THE PEOPLE SHALL DWELL ALONE, AND SHALL NOT BE RECKONED AMONG THE NATIONS" (Numbers 23:7-9)

Why is it that Israel has this singular place among the nations? Why is it that Jews who have lived in Russia for many generations have not assimilated into the Russian communities round about them? Why are they known as Russian Jews and as such are singled out for persecution and victimization? Why is it that Jews who have lived in Poland, Germany, America or England for generations are called Polish Jews, German Jews, American Jews or English Jews? Surely, Balaam's prophecy that Israel "shall NOT be reckoned among the nations" supplies the answer.


There is another aspect that should be considered. Moses wrote, "For thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." (Deuteronomy 7:6) Furthermore, God chose Israel to be a demonstration people through whom He could reveal His mighty power. "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?" (Deuteronomy 4:7)

This greatness is demonstrated time and again in the Scriptures when Israel has been the recipient of Divine enablement. What nation can boast such evidence of Divine power as was displayed in the Exodus from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and again split-second timing in the parting of the River Jordan forty years later and the collapse of the walls of Jericho? In all the annals of literature nothing compares with the miracle wrought in the valley of Aijalon when the sun stood still in the heavens for the space of one day whilst Israel fought the armies of Canaan. Or consider the victory wrought by Gideon in the Jezreel valley when 300 Israelites put to flight an army so great that it was described as "the sand by the sea side for multitude"!

Time and time again God demonstrated His power through His people Israel. On one occasion four lepers sat outside the gate of Samaria starving to death. Inside the city the plight was so desperate parents ate their young. The cause for this misery was the Syrian army that had besieged Samaria. During the evening the Lord struck terror into the hearts of the Syrians, "wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life." So great was their panic when they fled, "all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste." (II Kings, chapters 6 and 7)

As one reads these fascinating accounts of miraculous deliverance a pattern emerges. When Israel made an alliance with Egypt or Syria and trusted in the might of other nations to deliver them from their enemies the results were disastrous. However when they put their trust in the Lord God as in the case of Jehoshaphat's victory over the Ammonites and Moabites victory was assured. In spite of overwhelming odds and the fear of certain defeat, the word of the Lord came to Jehoshaphat; "Thus saith the Lord God unto you, Be not afraid or dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God's ... Ye shall not need to fight in this battle, set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you ..." How true were God's words, "Ye shall not need to fight this battle"! The Ammonites and the Moabites fought amongst themselves and not one survived.

I believe that a similar pattern has emerged during Israel's 29 years of Statehood. I am convinced beyond all shadow of doubt that the rebirth of Israel as a nation was no mere accident of history, nor was it the result of the caprice history, nor was it the result of the caprice of world powers. Ezekiel graphically prophesied Israel's regathering in unbelief from the four corners of the earth. He described the rebirth of the nation and the unification of representatives of all the tribes as one nation.

Furthermore he described the newly born nation as "an exceeding great army" (37:10). Could there be a more graphic description of the people's army of Israel that has flung hostile invaders back over its borders no less than four times during the past twenty-nine years of Statehood?


When Israel was reborn on the soil of its ancient homeland it was like the fulfilment of Psalm 126: "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the nations. The Lord hath done great things for them." I recall watching a newsreel documentary which captured the historic moment when Israel was admitted to the family of nations of the U.N. It was a stirring moment as Israel's flag was hoisted among those which already fluttered in the international breeze. And the words of the Psalmist were literally fulfilled: "Then said they among the nations, the Lord hath done great things for them." Congratulations poured in from great and small nations alike.

For a few brief years it seemed that Israel, though one of the youngest members in the family of nations was rapidly coming of age. Two thousand years of dispersion and national homelessness were now a thing of the past.

But whether she likes it or not, Israel is not like the host of other nations who have joined the international club called the U.N. She needs to realize again that Balaam's prophecy that Israel "shall NOT be reckoned among the nations" still holds good. After the Six Day War of 1967 the family of nations lost no time in clamouring among themselves that Israel return the West Bank, Sinai, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip. Then came the Energy Crisis of 1972 and Israel looked in vain for friends amongst the African States she had helped develop as well as her other erstwhile friends who considered their need for oil more important than Israel's friendship. But Israel was still proud to be a member of the U.N., UNTIL she was branded "racist". This was perhaps the most cruel of all the accusations that had been hurled at her in this unhappy "family".

But Israel was not entirely alone. Although Britain and France had joined with Russia in denouncing her, America and Holland were still her friends, and whilst America supplied her with planes and weapons she was not "alone among the nations". But does President Carter's demand that Israel surrender her territories liberated during the Six Day War mean the end of this friendship? Only time will tell. Certainly Balaam's ancient prophecy still holds good, and so does the pattern that unfolds throughout Scripture that Israel is not the same as the other nations and "shall not be reckoned among the nations". Has not the God of Israel claimed this nation as His own? "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?"

Although Israel may yet have to stand alone it will be when this nation recognizes that only in God is her real strength and security, that she will be the demonstration nation that God originally intended her to be.